By Xochitl Maiman
In the 12 years or so that I've been visiting Paso Robles, the number of wineries has grown from 50 to almost 200! As I see it, there is so much more to love about this beautiful and welcoming California wine producing region.
Without question, some wonderful wines are being produced in Paso Robles, many by the small family-owned and operated wineries that, I believe, are the heart and soul of the area. The rolling, oak studded hills, corduroyed with endless rows of vineyards on both sides of Highway 101, are home to small charming tasting rooms where visitors can enjoy an intimate wine tasting experience, often while visiting with the winemaker or owner. Sharing the landscape with the vineyards, olive orchards offer the sculptural beauty of the trees while providing the fruit for some of the state's finest quality olive oil.
The Back Roads Wineries of Paso Robles is a collective of over 20 such wineries along with olive oil producers and charming B & B's located in the beautiful countryside east of Highway 101. Together these wineries produce an impressive and large variety of wines. Expect to find carefully handcrafted wines made from Rhone varietals such as Viognier, Rousanne, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Classic Bordeaux varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. You'll even find wines made from Italian varietals like Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Primitivo and Barbera. Of course, there's plenty of Zinfandel and creative and innovative blends abound! A tour of the Back Roads wineries could take days, especially when it's so easy to get lost in a long, relaxed conversation over a glass of wine while hanging out on a patio with a stunning vineyard view.
For the first time, visitors to the 2012 Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend, October 19-21, will have the opportunity to taste wines and olive oils from many of the "Back Roads" producers all under one roof at the "Taste of the Back Roads" Wine Seminar and Grand Tasting to be held Friday, October 19. The "Foaling Barn" at the picturesque Windfall Farms will be the setting to enjoy fine hand-crafted wines and olive oils and delicious food from local favorites, Ted's Taco Bar, Dean Brothers Smoke House and LaGuardia's Homemade Since 1912. Guests will also be treated to the cool sounds of Acoustify to take them into the evening.
A special tasting seminar led by a panel of five "Back Roads" winemakers is being offered prior to the main tasting event. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation.
Click here for more information on Taste of the Backroads. Tickets are available at participating wineries and at Brown Paper Tickets.
Xochitl Maiman is a social media consultant with a passion for working with family run wineries and other small businesses. With a big soft spot for Paso Robles, she often writes about local events, wines and people at http://www.illdrinktothat.info/.